Crepes, crepes, everywhere crepes! That was pretty much the theme of my trip to Europe. Crepes were everywhere in every city. Just about every culture has their own version of flat bread (tortillas, naan, pita) and crepes definitely fit into that category. While they’re more like a pancake than a traditional yeast bread, they can definitely be used to house all sorts of delicious fillings, both savory or sweet. How could I not make something as versatile and useful as homemade crepes?
I always assumed crepes were finicky or complicated, so I never gave them a shot befoe. Or maybe I just didn’t realize how versatile they were. But when my host in Prague (Hi Holly!) made us fresh homemade crepes for breakfast, or palačinky as they’re called in Czech, my world kind of opened up. I saw how quick and easy they were and my mind reeled at the thought of all the amazing ingredients that I could stuff into the them. They went on my “to make” list immediately.
Crepe batter is even more simple than pancake batter, they take minutes to make, and you can even freeze them for later use (I test froze some this week!). Better yet, you can make the batter ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a day or two so that you can make crepes on the fly, or early in the morning when you’re too tired to measure and mix. :) I have a feeling I’m going to be eating a lot more crepes in the future.
Homemade crepes are incredibly fast and easy, and allow for each member of the family to customize their fillings. Savory or sweet, crepes are an easy meal.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour $0.08
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour $0.17
- 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
- 2 large eggs $0.32
- 3/4 cup milk $0.33
- 1/2 cup water $0.00
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted $0.30
- 1 tsp (or less) vegetable oil for cooking $0.02
In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and water until smooth. Add the flour mixture and melted butter to the whisked milk and eggs, then whisk again until no lumps remain.
Cover the batter and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to two days.
When you're ready to make the crepes, lightly oil an 8" to 10" non-stick skillet. Pre-heat the skillet over medium flame. When the skillet is fully heated, scoop about 1/3 cup of the batter into the center of the skillet. Immediately lift the skillet and tilt it in a circular motion to allow the batter to run in a circular pattern and fill the bottom of the skillet. This is a quick motion and the batter should run and spread readily to a very thin layer on the surface of the skillet. If the batter is too thick to easily run and spread, whisk in a couple tablespoons of water and try again. If the skillet is too hot and the batter solidifies too fast, try lowering the heat a bit.
Once the batter has spread over the surface of the skillet, return the skillet to the burner and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until golden brown on the second side. Remove the cooked crepe to a plate and start on the next one. Continue until all the batter has been used (6 to 8 8" crepes).
The crepes should be very thin and floppy. The batter should be the consistency of thick cream. If it's too thick to spread easily on the skillet, add a little water and try again. The first crepe or two are usually "test crepes" and will let you know if you need to adjust the heat under your skillet or the consistency of your batter.
In Prague we ate our crepes with plain yogurt and homemade preserves. I love the contrast of the tart yogurt with the sweet preserves. At home I made my crepes with peanut butter and slices of banana for natural sweetness. Other popular crepe fillings include: mozzarella, tomato, basil; ham and cheese; fruit, cream, and nuts; egg and cheese. I love the idea of making a double batch of crepes and setting out a buffet of ingredients for guests to fill their own. Easy brunch party!
Step by Step Photos
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir until evenly combined. I decided to make my crepes with half whole wheat flour for a little more texture, fiber, and flavor, but you can use all all-purpose flour if you prefer.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/2 cup water until smooth.
Add the bowl of dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, along with 3 Tbsp melted butter.
Whisk all the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth, there are no lumps, and it’s about as thick as heavy whipping cream. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes and up to two days. You can make the batter the night before so the crepes are ready to go in the skillet when you wake! Woot! (I’ve heard that you can just put all the ingredients into a blender and once and pulse until smooth, but I haven’t tried that. I hate cleaning blenders. Ha.)
When you’re ready to make the crepes, add a touch of oil to an 8-10 inch non-stick skillet. This is one of the few recipes that I really suggest using non-stick. Preheat the skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, pour about 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the skillet. Pick the skillet up and quickly tilt it around in a circular motion to make the batter run out to the edges of the pan. It should form a super thin layer over the entire surface of the skillet. If the batter is too thick to run easily when the skillet is tilted, whisk in a couple tablespoons of water and try again. The first crepe or two usually help you get a feel for the batter and the heat under the skillet. You may need to adjust either one. It’s a little like riding a bike, so don’t stress it. My first crepe looked like an amoeba!
After you’ve successfully spread the batter over the surface of the skillet, return it to the heat and let it cook until golden brown on the bottom. Flip the crepe and cook on the second side until golden brown. I promise this is quick and easy, but it may take a crepe or two to get the hang of. :)
As you cook the crepes, remove them to a clean plate until all the batter is used. You can cover the plate with foil to keep them warm. If you want to freeze your crepes, let them cool completely and then transfer them to a gallon sized freezer bag (laying flat). To thaw, just transfer them to the refrigerator or let them stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
There are lot of ways to fold crepes. You can fold both sides in to form a trifold envelope (like you’d fold a letter), roll them into skinny cigars, or fold in half twice to form a triangle. I think I like the triangle method best because nothing seeps out the bottom.
What is your favorite crepe filling? Share in the comments below. :)